Quick tip: “levenloos” is not a first name

Dutch girls laying flowers on the graves of a temporary graveyard for killed Canadian soldiers. Edderwolde, The Netherlands, 1945.

In some trees, you will see the name 'Levenloos' as the first name. However, 'levenloos' means 'lifeless' and is used to indicate stillborn children. Read more about the term levenloos. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vader

Soldier and child on a bike

The Dutch word vader means 'father.' Finding fathers can be difficult if the parents weren't married. Some tips: Check the birth record to see if the margin has any notes about the child being recognized by a father later in life. This need not be the biological father but it can be a good clue. Check population registers (since 1850) to … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Pinksteren

Man on horse with a lance stabbing a ring

The word 'Pinksteren' is Dutch for Pentacost, a religious holiday. In the Netherlands is it celebrated on Pentacost Sunday and the following day. Pentacost Monday is an official holiday and most of the people in the country have the day off. Nowadays, many people take the opportunity to go to a music festival, go to the beach or attend some … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Zomermaand

June. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Zomermaand literally means "Summer month" and is the old word for June. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Memorie van Successie

Memorie van successie

A Memorie van Successie (literally: memorial of succession) is a death duties file. To determine the inheritance tax due after a person died, the heirs had to file a Memorie van Successie. Read more about Death Duties Files and how to use them for your research. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Molenaar

Dutch etching of a miller

A molenaar was a miller. There were different types of mills. Besides the classic Dutch wind-powered mill, there were also horse-drawn mills and water mills. Mills could be used for different purposes, the most common being grind grain or to drain water from low-lying fields. People could not just build a mill, that right was reserved for the … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bloeimaand

May. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Bloeimaand (literally: bloom month) is the old word for May. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bevrijding

Allied soldier hugged by girls.

Bevrijding means 'liberation.' On 5 May 1945, the Netherlands was liberated from the German occupation. Every year on this day, we celebrate "Bevrijdingsdag" (Liberation Day) to commemorate this event. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bode

Messenger

A bode was a messenger, which can sound like an errant boy but it was a far more important function than that. The best approximation is probably a bailiff, someone charged with delivering important documents and news and making sure that the other party receives it. They had a wide array of tasks, ranging from taking messages to organizing public … [Read more...]

Ask Yvette: Resolving Conflicting Evidence in Early Civil Registration Records

Houses along a canal

Since the introduction of the civil registration (in 1811 in most part of the Netherlands), everybody was supposed to have a fixed name. Everybody who did not have a surname, was required to take a name and have that recorded. The reality was not always so neat. Especially in regions where many people did not have surnames before 1811, like … [Read more...]